the important and the not-so-important, horribly conflated.

Memory Tapes + Neon Indian

In nature on February 22, 2010 at 6:55 pm

I saw these two “chill-wave” groups Friday night in Philly. Neon Indian opened and struggled to get their sound right throughout the set—which was frustrating, because they had everything else down: the angular and jerky dancing, the syncopated group hopping, the absurdly catchy, beamed-in-from-space-invaders hooks. Their encore was a fantastic new tune that caught and held on to grooves that would have been cast off after 8 bars on the band’s debut album, Psychic Chasms. At once brazen and beautiful, the encore had Neon Indian finally looking and sounding comfortable in their own unique niche.

Memory Tapes is one dude (like Neon Indian), but he brought along a drummer friend and a laptop on friday night. With the music ricocheting and tumbling through different tempos and rhythms, it was stunning to simply watch the humans try to keep up with their computer. They broke up and excerpted several songs, but the experience as a whole was an exercise in fragile continuity—even during abrupt shifts, I could hear echoes of the themes and hooks just tossed off: a dynamic underscored by the jubilant laptop that continued clicking and humming onstage after the rest of the band walked off to deserved applause.

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